Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1426: The Significance of dreams

  I had a terrible dream. It is still affecting me. It is probably too personal to share, but I am going to share it anyway. Come with me as I share this dream.

  I used to not dream or at least not know I dreamed. For some years, I have dreamed often. There are concrete patterns to my dreams. One pattern is being lost and unable to find my way or unable to find something such as my parked car. I call these my lost dream series.

  A second dream series involves something trying to catch and harm me. More often than not, it involves snakes trying to bite my feet or legs. I often get to kicking at the snakes so furiously that I end up kicking in my sleep. The kicking wakes my wife. The kicking and dreams really disturb her. They also disturb me. I call these my harm and danger dream series.

  I do not put great stock in dreams, but I do not discount them. I believe they have significance. I don’t know the significance, but I believe meaning is there to be found. I am well aware of the Biblical stories involving dreams. The most impactful ones are in stories of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. Each dream not only had significance but specific meaning which greatly impacted the lives of Joseph and a whole nation of people.

  My wife perceives specific and powerful significance in my dreams. In response to each harm and danger dream I share, she says I am under attack by lowdown people – snakes. She says there are people trying to get me. I do not discount her analysis because I know there are people trying to do me harm. It has been that way for years. I am sure that it continues to this day.

  I clearly recall former Selma Mayor Joe Smitherman and Cecil Williamson asking the FBI/ABI/U.S. Attorney/Ethics Commission and others to investigate me. They said that they did not know specifically what I had done that was illegal, but if I was investigated they were bound to find something. They even wrote letters to these and other entities and a copy was provided to me confidentially. I also know of private investigations and even death threats, but I keep going.

  I don’t dwell on the realization that some people are trying to do me harm. I know that far more people are trying to help me. I understand that danger is part of life, so I cannot allow it to immobilize me or divert me or slow me. I keep moving, trying to help when and where I can.

  I recently had another harm and danger dream. I was sitting on the ground on a low hill with several friends. A baby snake crawled out among us. It appeared to be a poisonous rattlesnake. One person tried to catch the snake, but it slithered away under some trash. I jumped up to get away. However, when I looked down, I saw that the snake had bit into my left ankle and was hanging on. I repeatedly tried to kick it off with my right foot, but it would not let go. I was kicking something terrible in my sleep. My kicking awakened my wife and her voice awakened me. I shared the nightmare with her.

  The dream was so real that I was afraid to go back to sleep. It felt like one of those dreams that start up again when we return to sleep. I got up and moved about. Because I had just finished two books and didn’t want to start another, I watched television. After a couple of hours, I went back to bed. I do not recall dreaming any more, but my dear wife said I kept kicking in my sleep.

  In the many dreams I’ve had concerning snakes, I was never bitten a single time. This time I was bitten by a baby snake that wouldn’t let go. There must be some symbolism in all this. I admit that I don’t know the meaning of this dream. However, I do ask myself questions: Does the dream mean that those who have been trying to do me harm will now succeed? Does the dream mean that the harm will come through something young but dangerous? Does it mean that I will put up a fight but be bitten anyway? Is a baby snake as poisonous as a grown snake? Does the dream mean that my friends will be involved? What does the dream mean?

  In truth, I do not know what the dream means. I do know that I will continue living as I have lived. I will continue struggling for justice. I will continue working for a better life for all. I cannot control what other people do. I can control what I do in response to what others do. I cannot control what I dream. I can control what I do in response to my dreams. I just keep going and the dreams take care of themselves.

EPILOGUE – Everything has meaning beyond our perceptions and understanding. Some things are even more difficult to perceive and understand than others. Dreams fall in this category. When we don’t understand, we must resist the urge to create a false understanding but allow the understanding to come to us.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents Senate District 23 in the Alabama Legislature.

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